The Oxford English dictionary shows 171,476 words in current use. I doubt I know 15% of them. My inventory increased by one last Saturday. My daughter sent it to me as one I might enjoy and given the state of the world now, she thought I might have a use for it. Kakistocracy.
According to Oxford, kakistocracy – Government by the least suitable or competent citizens of a state.
They offer some ideas of usage.
‘the danger is that this will reduce us to kakistocracy’
- ‘every government that has existed since the ancient Greeks has been a prime example of kakistocracy’
‘the modern regime is at once a plutocracy and a kakistocracy’
‘the man in the street must share part of the blame for allowing such a kakistocracy to entrench itself’
Governments have effects on the well being of the citizens. Citizens should be aware of the possibilities and recognize how they can contribute to the reduction of the kakistocracy condition.
P.J. O’Rourke has a thought on the subject.
No drug, not even alcohol, causes the fundamental ills of society. If we’re looking for the source of our troubles, we shouldn’t test people for drugs, we should test them for stupidity, ignorance, greed, and love of power.
Harsh reality is never fun. We should consider the validity though.
Society is too useful to turn it into a video game like setting where all of the optional behaviours are built in and one can only play within them. We should become participants in the game design. We should be able to discover and delete the parts that serve no purpose or are harmful. Being a designer and programmer is much more challenging than being a player.
In a functioning society the task of implementing useful changes is the work of the government. It is debatable if they perform that task any more or if instead, they make the game more attractive, easier to play, and more addictive. You may have noticed in the recent American election the game became highly competitive, filled with trickery and bereft of clear policies. It became a personality contest. A beauty pageant in a way.
That is how politics works now. At one time politics and running for office were a part of governing but not the dominant part. Today governing is an after thought. Politicians create plans and programs that appeal to the ill-informed. Value and sustainability are secondary. Voter appeal is paramount. How many politicians would do the “Right Thing” if it guaranteed their loss in the next election? Not many.
We are perennially faced with kakistocracy because skilled, energetic people will not put themselves through the insanity of the election process. It is becoming like a 1970s English soccer match where the fans must be kept apart lest a riot erupt. False news, biased pundits, ideologically driven organizations that live on wealth from someone else’s efforts, social media driven by people who cannot see past their team’s colors. Kin Hubbard may have noticed first.
“We’d all like to vote for the best man, but he’s never a candidate.”
That quote is at least a hundred years old.
It is time the people realized that the government causes more problems than it solves. It is certainly time to stop looking to them for solutions to problems we can easier solve ourselves. Governments are big, clumsy, selfish systems that over-solve problems at great cost and refuse to stop applying the solution once the problem has disappeared. We would all be better with the money in our pocket and without inept regulation dragging down our lives.
Don Shaughnessy arranges life insurance for people who understand the value of a life insured estate. He can be reached at The Protectors Group, a large insurance, employee benefits, and investment agency in Peterborough, Ontario. In previous careers, he has been a partner in a large international public accounting firm, CEO of a software start-up, a partner in an energy management system importer, and briefly in the restaurant business.
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